Howard J. Brown, dMass Inc. co-founder and co-author of Naked Value: Six Things Every Business Leader Needs to Know About Resources, Innovation & Competition, discusses a method that encourages engagement and taking action by “focusing on managing resource inputs instead of managing the consequences of using those resources.” Naked Value describes an established perspective on how to use a sustainable business strategy. “You’re operating your business today in a world that’s fundamentally different than it was even a decade ago and changed circumstances call for a change in strategy.” While most companies focus on waste management, scorecards and reporting, Brown offers a strategy that focuses on materials initially put into a product, and evaluates if that material can be more efficient.
Brown has been intrigued by business efficiency since the 1970s, long before being green and sustainability were trendy. With more than 30 years of experience, Brown’s expertise is in the intersection of business and environment; the direction of innovation; innovations that deliver more wealth with fewer resources (resource performance); naked value; and Buckminster Fuller concepts.
Sustainable business strategies have become prevalent in business; sustainable practices are evaluated, offered as university concentrations and popular in general. Brown examines in Naked Value how the world is changing fundamentally and how a company’s awareness of what they produce is more important than ever because of increased scarcity in material. Brown gives an example; “Pepsi, motivated by volatile oil prices, is working to eliminate petroleum from its bottles and is planning to use bio-waste from its various product lines to make bottles. Many other manufacturers and retailers are also cutting plastic and weight from packaging for the same reason.”
Brown’s background covers working in resource reduction with businesses, government and organizations. Inspired by R. Buckminster Fuller, Brown both worked with him and learned from Fuller that, “You can make money by making sense, but you can’t make sense by making money,” said Brown.
dMASS and Naked Value work hand in hand to deliver dMASS Inc.'s mission to identify hidden risks and opportunities for businesses and inventors. The term dMASS means the reduction of mass through design. The company draws on the rich database of emerging technologies, high-performing innovations and new business models that help clients become more competitive while aligning with the environment and business.
Brown looks into the essential benefit a product offers and tells what the business is about, “customers purchasing resources that are organized into products, and they use those resources as long as the resources provide a desired benefit,” said Brown. “Only by knowing the relationship between the essential benefits delivered and the quantity of resources required to deliver them can businesses act methodically to innovate, gain competitive advantage and achieve naked value,” said Brown. Naked Value decodes a product’s real benefit to the customer.
When asked who Brown would like to meet from history, he answered Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi is known for his extraordinary morality. Gandhi’s ethics share a similarity to the ethics Brown describes as awareness of interdependence. It takes the idea of ethics and makes it a pragmatic thing. What would Gandhi say about sustainability?
Howard Brown has dedicated his work life to the pursuit of business opportunities that arise from creative environmental management practices. For more than 20 years as CEO of Resource Planning & Management Systems (RPM), Inc., he worked with major corporations to establish or enhance their environmental practices and performance. His proven techniques are still state of the art at universities and corporations around the globe today, and he continues to push the leading edge with new ideas. For two decades, Brown was a popular lecturer at Yale University and at Wesleyan University, where his courses on environmental planning and economic development inspired countless students to become leaders in this field. Brown was also a student and colleague of R. Buckminster Fuller and is an authority on the social and economic implications of Fuller’s work.
Visit www.icosa.co/naked_value for ICOSA’s video interview with Howard Brown.
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